Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders by Jason Riley is an excellent book with a regrettable title. Because I personally do not think the United States could sustain an open borders policy—and because that is also quite adamantly not the position of my employer, World Relief, which like other evangelical groups supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform has occasionally been wrongly accused of advocating an open border stance—I have been reticent to recommend Let Them In. But the subtitle—which I would imagine was chosen by the publisher, eager to sell books with a provocative book cover, not the author—is actually misleading. Riley’s argument—coming from the libertarian-leaning, market-oriented perspective typical of his employer, The Wall Street Journal—is really a case against closed borders—that is, the view that we should stop immigration altogether. He argues for more open immigration policies than we currently have, but nowhere in the text does he suggest that we should allow unlimited immigration, as the subtitle implies. To the contrary, he concludes the book with this summary: “The United States needs to better regulate cross-border labor flows, not end them.” A better title for the book (particularly had it been published in 2010 rather than 2008) would be The Tea Party Case for Immigration Reform. The powerful Tea Party movement is driven in large part by the belief that the market—not the state—is the best engine of economic growth and therefore that we need a much smaller, limited government with fewer regulations. With some exceptions, of the two major political parties in the U.S., the Republican Party has generally been the party of smaller government, deregulation, and freer markets. Riley makes a compelling case that those who, like him, believe in the free movement of goods and capital should also advocate a freer movement of labor, even across borders. Our current immigration system, he told satirist Stephen Colbert, resembles “Soviet-style central planning” with its arbitrary visa quotas divorced from market realities—precisely the sort of policies against which the Tea Party generally rails.
Tagged with: abortion • Center for Immigration Studies • College Republicans • Comprehensive Immigration Reform • conservatives • Dick Armey • environment • evangelicals • FAIR • Federation for American Immigration Reform • George W. Bush • Grover Norquist • Jason Riley • John Tanton • Let Them In • libertarian • Newt Gingrich • NumbersUSA • Open Borders • Planned Parenthood • population control • pro-life • Republican Party • Republicans • Richard Land • Ronald Reagan • Stephen Colbert • Tea Party • The Case for Open Borders • Wall Street Journal • World Relief